Dentures are also commonly known as false teeth. They can be categorized as full or partial where all or some of the teeth are being replaced by a removable device. In the case of partial dentures, the remaining teeth can be used as a grip or anchorage point to improve denture stability. Because dentures are entirely custom made for the individual, there is a process that is undertaken to ensure that the fit, appearance and function can be optimized.
The first stage needs to be a thorough examination of the entire mouth and supporting structures including the jaw bones. This generally involves taking x rays to ensure that there are no underlying issues or factors that might cause future complications. It can be critical to understand the reasons why teeth have required removal, and in the case of partial dentures, take steps to preserve remaining teeth for as long as possible. It is important to ensure that patients continue to care for remaining teeth as alterations to dentures, or remaking them can provide additional challenges later.
The dentist will need to discuss the advantages and limitations of dentures to clearly explain how they will look, feel and function. Despite best efforts, no denture will feel like a natural tooth, and you may wish to consider other tooth replacement options if you feel that other options may be more suitable.
For partial dentures, it is necessary to complete any cleaning, fillings or other work before the process of making a denture can begin.
Once this is achieved, a mold or scan of your teeth is required. Dentures are made by technicians that work with dentists to fabricate these custom devices. So any work that the dentist does is then passed on for processing and manufacture.
The molding is often done in 2 stages to achieve a higher level of accuracy. Scanners are being used more frequently as an alternative to molds and this can have some advantages for patient comfort and turn around times. This provides a replica of the teeth and allows the next phases of denture construction to commence.
Depending on how many teeth are present, the next stage typically involves trying to record how a person’s new teeth should meet together, and to also estimate some parameters for how they should appear. For full dentures, and some partial dentures, this is known as the jaw record. If someone is missing fewer teeth, this step may not be required.
Once this is established, the next part of the process is to do a trial fitting with some teeth in place. For some types of partial denture, these teeth may be set onto a metal framework which clicks into place over the remaining teeth. This stage is known as a Try – In and is very important as it gives the patient their first view as to what the denture may look like. The dentist can assess how the dentures are likely to function, and check other factors related to fit and comfort. This trial fitting will likely result in some changes being made, and quite often an additional visit is arranged before sending the denture for final processing. If you or the dentist have concerns or are not happy with the proposed appearance, it is critical to make the changes prior to the next stage.
Once the trial fitting is deemed satisfactory, the next appointment is the fitting of the completed denture. Because gum is soft and most dentures are hard ( for durability) , it is quite possible that a new denture can require adjusting. Excess pressure or rubbing from the denture may result in sore spots or ulcers. This can require some follow -up visits to fine tune, however wearing in or getting used to new dentures can also take some time. The dentist will also discuss care and cleaning of the denture at the fitting appointment.
What Happens In The Scenario Where You Have An Immediate Denture?
In many scenarios, a patient is given a new denture on the same day they have several teeth removed. This avoids having to go without teeth while your denture is being made. Making an immediate denture does bypass the trial fitting steps as there is often not an opportunity to assess how it will look as the damaged teeth to be removed are in the way. The completed denture is fitted immediately after the teeth are removed, which does increase the requirements for adjusting as the gums will swell and then shrink considerably, affecting the dentures fit and comfort.
Missing teeth in some cases and in some locations, may or may not require replacing, so please discuss your particular needs with your dentist. Dentures can be an affordable and effective way to restore your oral health, appearance and function.
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